Tag s | Bestsellers

Bestsellers in 1982

Continuing my twice-yearly focus on bestsellers from years gone by, today we stop the “way-back” machine thirty-five years ago. The New York Times Bestseller lists from June 27, 1982:


  1. The Parsifal Mosaic, by Robert Ludlum. (Spy novel with possible film being recently discussed, thirty-five years later!)
  2. The Man From St. Petersburg, by Ken Follett. (A pre-WWI thriller.)
  3. The Prodigal Daughter, by Jeffrey Archer. (Key character becomes first woman U.S. President. Sequel to the author’s Kane & Abel.)
  4. The One Tree, by Stephen R. Donaldson. (Book two in the fantasy series, ”The Second Chronicles of Thomas Covenant.”)
  5. Eden Burning, by Belva Plain.
  6. North and South, by John Jakes. (First book in Civil War trilogy, spawning a successful television miniseries.)
  7. For Special Services, by John Gardner. (James Bond thriller.)
  8. Celebrity, by Thomas Thompson. (Author of Lost, which released in 1975 died not long after the release of this title in 1982. Book was a television miniseries in 1984.)
  9. Dinner at the Homesick Restaurant, by Anne Tyler. (Finalist for a Pulitzer, National Book Award and PEN/Faulkner Award in 1983.)
  10. Thy Brother’s Wife, by Andrew M. Greeley.
  11. Twice Shy, by Dick Francis. (Made into a 1989 television movie.)
  12. Friday, by Robert A. Heinlein. (Numerous awards in 1982 and 1983, including 1983 Hugo Award for best novel.)
  13. Public Smiles, Private Tears, by Helen Van Slyke with James Elward.
  14. Dutch Shea, Jr. by John Gregory Dunne.
  15. A Mother and Two Daughters, by Gail Godwin. (Nominated for National Book Award for Fiction in 1983 won by The Color Purple.)


  1. Jane Fonda’s Workout Book, by Jane Fonda. (Highly successful series and video franchise.)
  2. Living, Loving & Learning, by Leo Buscaglia.
  3. No Bad Dogs: The Woodhouse Way, by Barbara Woodhouse.
  4. Richard Simmons’ Never-Say-Diet Cookbook.
  5. The Fate of the Earth, by Jonathan Schell (Exploring the consequences of nuclear war. Spoiler alert: Not good.)
  6. A Light in the Attic, by Shel Silverstein. (Collection of poems for children.)
  7. America in Search of Itself: The Making of the President, 1956-80, by Theodore H. White. (Author nominated for NBA for another title in 1980.)
  8. When Bad Things Happen to Good People, by Harold S. Kushner.
  9. A Few Minutes with Andy Rooney, by Andrew A. Rooney (Legendary 60 Minutes commentator.)
  10. Weight Watchers 365-Day Menu Cookbook (It’s a 365-day menu cookbook from Weight Watchers. Just guessing…I haven’t read it.)
  11. The Umpire Strikes Back, by Ron Luciano with David Fisher. (Funny anecdotes from a former major league baseball umpire. Luciano retired from umpiring in 1980 at age 43, did speaking and television, but suffered from depression. Took his own life in 1995.)
  12. Late Innings, by Roger Angell. (Another baseball book. Author wrote for the New Yorker and was its lead fiction editor for many years. Still living, now 96 years young. Roger’s mother Katherine was The New Yorker’s first fiction editor, divorced when Roger was young and remarried to E.B. White, author of Charlotte’s Web, Stuart Little and more, plus co-authored the classic writing book The Elements of Style by Strunk & White.)
  13. Holy Blood, Holy Grail, by Michael Baigent, Richard Leigh and Henry Lincoln. (The non-fiction work used as foundation for Dan Brown’s novel The DaVinci Code.)
  14. Years of Upheaval, by Henry Kissinger. (Former US Secretary of State discusses 1973-1976, working through Watergate, end of Viet Nam war and more.)
  15. The I Love New York Diet, by Bess Myerson and Bill Adler. (Based on nutritional standards from New York doctors.)

The Christian publishing market in 1982 highlighted these authors, among others:

Non Fiction

Ann Kiemel Anderson
F.F. Bruce
Larry Burkett
Evelyn Christenson
Charles Colson
James Dobson
Ted Engstrom
Richard Foster
Billy Graham
Ruth Bell Graham
Tim LaHaye
Joyce Landorf (some fiction as well)
Hal Lindsey (did a novel too)
Josh McDowell
J.I. Packer
Dale Evans Rogers
Edith Schaeffer
Francis Schaeffer
Robert Schuller
RC Sproul
John Stott
Charles Swindoll
Warren Wiersbe
Phillip Yancey


Marjorie Holmes
Paul Maier
Janette Oke
Michael Phillips
John White
Grace Livingston Hill (reprinted editions of her books from decades earlier still sold well in 1982)

Leave a Comment

The Bestseller Code: Decoded

Last week, to great fanfare, a new book analyzing bestselling books hit the market. In my opinion, The Bestseller Code: The Anatomy of the Blockbuster Novel by Jodie Archer and Matthew L. Jockers is intriguing and provocative, but ultimately an exercise in futility. Every author wants a short cut to achieve bestseller success. What …

Read More

The Best Selling Christian Books of all Time

I realize attempting to compile a list like this could ruffle some feathers from both publishing and literature purists, not to mention the theological issues raised in the process of determining a “Christian” book. But I thought I would take a stab at it anyway. The list of the best-selling …

Read More

Best Selling Books Sixty Years Ago

Continuing my early 2016 focus on sixty years ago, today we will look back at the New York Times bestseller list for January 15, 1956. Fiction ANDERSONVILLE, by MacKinlay Kantor (Won the Pulitzer Prize for 1956) MARJORIE MORNINGSTAR, by Herman Wouk (Made into a 1958 film with Gene Kelly and …

Read More

Bestsellers Twenty Years Ago

Twice each year, I take this space on the agency blog and make a trip down memory lane to see what books were selling many years ago. If you understand from where books have come, you can understand where books are going. Below is the New York Times bestseller list …

Read More

Bestsellers Thirty Years Ago

We hop back into our “way-back machine” for our twice yearly trip to the past and see what books were selling before I started losing my hair and life was comparatively simple. January 6, 1985…thirty years ago today, here are the New York Times bestseller lists: Fiction The Talisman, by …

Read More

Bestselling Books in 1974

Starting today, and every six months, we are going to take a ride in the “way-back” machine (with special acknowledgment to Mr. Peabody and Sherman), traveling back in time to grab a snapshot of what books were selling on a particular date and year. To get an idea where publishing …

Read More

Mystery of the Bestseller List

In my years in publishing, one of the most interesting aspects has been the evolution of best-seller lists.  The primary source of confusion for authors and publishers of Christian books is that the most influential best-seller lists (New York Times, USA Today, Publishers Weekly) do not consider sales of books at Christian retailers in their calculations to any great extent.  Hence, Christian books are handicapped from the beginning as they compete with the general market/non-Christian books on the various lists.

There is no comprehensive national best-seller list for Christian books.  There are lists that count sales mostly in general retail and those that count sales mostly in Christian stores, but there is no list that combines the sales in any meaningful way.  Add to this the large number Christian books sold through ministries, specialty racks (Choice Books, etc.), book clubs and by authors themselves.  None of those sales count for best-seller lists.

Read More

News You Can Use – Jan. 24, 2012

The Secrets Behind the Bestseller List – Ever wonder how those lists are compiled? The Sacramento Bee takes a stab at uncovering the secret.

3 Important Questions about Digital that No One is Asking – Nick Atkinson adds to the ongoing discussion in a sharp manner.

Do Book Bloggers Still Matter? – Beth Kephart asks whether this form of marketing has any influence any more.

10 Bits of Advice to Stop Giving Writers – Nick Mamatas presents a contrarian view of the kinds of things we are teaching at writers conferences and in our blogs. Agree or disagree?

Is Profanity Okay to Use as Part of Your Writing? – Relevant Magazine has this provocative take on profanity in music lyrics. My mom would have washed his mouth out with soap.

The New Logo of a Combined Zondervan and Thomas Nelson – Just Kidding! Robert Treskillard engages in some fun speculation and adds in his own graphic design talents.

Amazon is Gunning to Put Traditional Publishers Out of Business – An anonymous publisher spills his opinions to Sarah Lacy at PandoDaily.

Watch this quick video about the things that have all but disappeared because of technology:

Read More